Meet Chris Glass, a true 21st century renaissance gentleman: a member of the prestigious Mr. Porter’s Style Council, Membership Director of Soho House Europe, an interior stylist, and founder of the conceptual cutting-edge space in Berlin - aptm. He is a man of the world and it’s hard to keep track of where he is at any given moment. However, we managed to sit with him for an interview during a fashion shoot he recently did in Tel Aviv.
How do you manage all your jobs and responsibilities?
I figure there’s enough time to sleep when I’m dead, right? Actually, though I’m admittedly a workaholic, there’s a very natural overlap to all of the things that I do. They’re all connected in the sense that they are part of the way I live – it’s actually a lifestyle and I find inspiration in all those pockets. My parents’ generation studied something and then did just that everyday for sixty-five years. I’m fortunate to live in a time when people can move seamlessly between industries and job titles and extract the value from each to create an overarching story that.
Your pursuit for meaningful aesthetics and high-end social engineering reminds me of Bill Cunningham's words: “He who seeks beauty will find it.” What are you seeking in your life, both professionally and personally?
Beauty is certainly high on the list. I’m consciously seeking kindness at the moment. There’s just so much crap going on in the world and I don’t want to contribute more to it. What difference would it make if I smile at a stranger, if I say yes when everyone else is saying no, if I add a little extra, if I show up on time, if I leave things how I found them, if I sometimes say nothing at all? As an employee, as a business owner, and as a person, I try to ask myself those types of questions all the time.
What's your secret to a healthy lifestyle?
I’m not really an exercise person, so I do try to make conscious choices about what I eat. I generally try to focus on things that I can touch without a layer of packaging in the middle and I’m a fan of intermittent fasting. I also believe in healthy from the inside out. I believe our thoughts about ourselves, how we treat ourselves, and what we believe about ourselves is paramount. No amount of kale or pilates can compensate for self-loathing, frustration, or denial.
At Sand believe self care is not only about using excellent grooming products but also spending time with friends and knowing how to slow down. How do you slow down during stressful periods?
I have a few rituals that help me find calm and to connect in spite of my hectic schedule. I try to leave home clean – as in making sure my flat is prepared for me to return. Each time I land in a city, I look out the window and watch the plane touch the ground. Then I say a prayer of gratitude for a safe landing. Once I’m in the taxi, I inhale and exhale deeply ten times; it forces me to be with myself for a moment, it oxygenates my brain, and shuts the noise out. I write postcards; it’s one of those old school ways of connecting with friends that beats a text or an email simply because it’s unexpected. I also send a postcard to myself which includes a lesson learned on that trip. And once I return home, I have a favorite playlist that I crank up to let the neighbours know I’m back.
You travel a lot. What about traveling still excites you?
It’s not lost on me that most of the people I grew up with have never traveled outside of the US. I think of traveling as being part of a very privileged classroom. The things I learn about other cultures, religions, communities, etc. via their language, food, art, architecture, crafts, gestures, people - those are things that enrich my understanding of the world and they stay with me for life. The biggest lesson is what I learn about myself as I move around the world. How I exist in this world and what “being” means in different places. I’m taught empathy and my mind and heart are opened wider.
Which are the most exciting places you've been lately?
I‘ve been discovering Milan, Tel Aviv, and Sicily recently. Tbilisi and Comporta are all the rage at the moment. I’m keen to get to Porto and the Costa Brava soon and Johannesburg, Lagos, Accra, and Nairobi are in my looking glass.
Can you give us your best tips for traveling?
- Shop with packing in mind. If you buy quality basics that are easy to combine (clean shapes, solid colors, simple designs), when it comes time to pack, half the work is done.
- Stay wet while flying! Moisturise from the outside in (hand cream, face cream, eye cream, lip balm) and the inside out (water, water, water).
- Keep two sets of toiletries – one that stays at home, and another that stays packed for travel. It’s one less thing to think about.
- Return to the same hotel as often as possible. Loyalty is often rewarded and if you get to know the staff, they’re always going to go the extra mile to make sure you feel at home.
- My mom always said, dress like the plane is gonna crash. It’s slightly morbid, but it’s a gentle reminder to actually get dressed for traveling. If I wanted to be comfortable, I could stay at home.
What does your grooming routine look like?
My secret is, leave the heavy lifting to the professionals. I set calendar appointments for my barber, manicure and pedicure, and facials so that they always get done. And at home, I focus on simple, yet effective maintenance with high-quality products. Mornings are quick – brush my teeth, spritz of toner, apply an all around serum, brush my beard, deo, fragrance, scoot. Evenings are all about beard oil, hand cream and eye cream. And I don’t buy things I won’t use.
At Sand, we’re inspired by the Mediterranean. What is it about the Mediterranean spirit that you love?
The Mediterranean spirit is about slowing down, coming together, celebrating, indulging, enjoying. Who doesn’t love that? Biting into fresh fruit on the beach, the smell of pine trees and lavender in the wind, holding freshly baked bread and dousing it in olive oil. I love the simplicity of the lifestyle and how it doesn’t require any sacrifice in quality.
Can you share with us your favorite scent of the moment?
I love the smell of summer rain – just before or after. The smell of heat and humidity is intoxicating and reminds me of summers in Georgia where I grew up. It’s also a reminder that one has to just stop and wait sometimes.
You can follow Chris’s adventures at Herrglass.
Photography - Ori Taub, ORRO content agency.
Styling - Ofir Levi, The MAMU
Location - The LEVEE Tel Aviv